Monday, December 19, 2011

Dare to Have Traditions

Dare to DIY

Have you checked out the Dare to DIY feature over at NewlyWoodwards? Kim does an amazing job showcasing all sorts of different DIY things for the holidays, from cookies to decor. I had wanted to participate more often this year, but just wasn't able to between not having internet and everything else that's been going on. But this week? I was not going to miss. It's my favorite--Dare to Have Traditions.

My family has always joked about me and traditions. I think one year on Christmas morning, my dad picked up doughnuts at the store. The next year, when we didn't have doughnuts, I was appalled, saying, "But it's tradition!" And that's so true for me--if it happens once and I enjoy it, it's tradition!

So, here are a few of the Christmas traditions in our family:

The Christmas Pickle:

You can read more about the Christmas Pickle {here}, but essentially, we leave a pickle ornament out for Santa to hide, and whoever finds it first on Christmas morning gets an extra present from Santa (usually candy). A few weeks ago, I was telling Lizzy that her dad or her uncle Kevin usually are the ones who find the pickle. Now, every morning she'll get up, see the pickle on our tree, and yell "No Kevin! Lizzy's turn for pickle!"

Advent Books:


This is something new we've started, but I'd like it to become tradition! This year, we wrapped up 25 Christmas books (actually, we had 30, so we wrapped up 30 and started a little early), and Lizzy gets to open one each night. It's just a fun and inexpensive thing to do as a family.

Christmas Lights:


Justin doesn't actually know that this is going to be a tradition yet, but I would  really like it to! There's a street about 15 minutes away from us that gets TOTALLY decked out with lights. Last year, on a night that we had a hard time getting Lizzy to go to sleep, we drove through while listening to Christmas music. I'd love to continue the tradition this year, but we'll see.

Christmas Eve- Christmas Day:

For the past 10 or 11 years, my family has gotten dressed up and gone to a fancy dinner on Christmas Eve at the same local restaurant. It is one of my favorite traditions by far, and I'm so glad that we've continued going since Justin and I have been married and Lizzy was born, even though it often keeps Lizzy up FAR past her bedtime and sometimes it's hard to do the fancy restaurant thing with a toddler.

{last year}


I know a lot of people think that it's kind of odd to go out to eat on Christmas Eve, but we don't typically go out to nice dinners, so it's a big treat for our family to get dressed up, and then not only go out to eat, but order drinks, appetizers, and desserts in addition to dinner! There's just this extra kindness and excitement in the air as we all slow down from the hustle and bustle and eat dinner together. 

After dinner, we usually spend the night at my parents' house and then open Christmas presents there with them in the morning (and we usually just take our stockings over). At some point, we head back to our house to open presents from each other and then relax a bit. Lizzy keeps asking me if we're going to have birthday cake for Jesus, so I might do a little something like that to do while we're at home too. This year, we've started doing four presents for Lizzy--something she wants, something she needs, something to wear, and something to read. Our family does do presents from Santa, and we hadn't really discussed the Santa gift as in the context of the four presents, so this year, one of those will probably just be her Santa present, and we'll reevaluate next year.

A little later, we head over to Justin's parents house, where we open presents with all of his sisters, brother, and kiddos. The adults draw names for a gift exchange, and everyone gets small presents for the kids. It's such a fun and LOUD time, even though it might be a little harder this year since one of the nieces will be with her dad for the first time on Christmas. It's good for her to be able to spend time with him, but we will still miss her! Later, we have a huge Christmas dinner. It's always so much fun.

We are so blessed.


  1. I love the Christmas pickle ornament idea- that's super cute. What a fun tradition!! Also the advent books- very very clever!! :)

  2. Fun!! I love your advent book idea! Too cute!

  3. I love this. Traditions are SO fun.

    Just curious -- the book idea, are those new books or books you already had? Just wondered because you said it was inexpensive and that wasn't my initial thought ;)

  4. OMG- the Christmas book idea is amazing. I absolutely love it. Genius. Thanks.

  5. These are such awesome traditions - all of them! I'm totally the same way about traditions, too. If they happen once, it's a tradition. Love that description!

    I love the book advent idea. So brilliant! I'm also really loving the eating out for Christmas Eve tradition. Sounds like it's perfect for your family!

  6. PS - Thanks so much for linking up to Dare to DIY! I love seeing your family traditions!

  7. I love me some Christmas pickles. Our Christmas pickle tradition is considerably lazier in that it amounts to everyone just having a Christmas pickle ornament, but I love how perplexing they are to people unfamiliar with them.

    Also, Christmas Eve dinners FTW. Some of the best nights of my life.

  8. I live the Christmas Eve tradition. Dressing up and eating together has to be so much fun!

  9. I think it's a great idea to go out to dinner on Christmas Eve - less stress. :) The pickle ornament is so cute!

  10. Traditions are so fun! We have started talking about what we want to do for advent next year when Eme starts to 'get' it, and we talked about the book thing. We think its ridiculously cute and fun, but think we may make our advent more 'others' focused. With maybe a daily thing to do...'bake cookies for your neighbor', 'give a secret gift to a friend', 'go through toys and choose some to give away', 'caroling at the nursing home'. You know? But I was am still am a fan of the books thing, I think it sounds really fun.


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